Group urges reversal of rezoning request, City Council agrees

A request to rezone a lot at 702 South Mesquite to accommodate the temporary placement of a mobile home on a city lot brought a group of more than 15 Brady residents to Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to express their opposition. In the opening discussion item of the meeting, Dalton and Andrea Young addressed the council with a plea to rezone the lot to allow a mobile home on the lot until their house, that was destroyed by fire several months ago, could be rebuilt. The Youngs apparently moved the mobile home to the lot after seeking guidance from Brady city officials and receiving what they believed to be the proper authorization. Once the building had been moved to the lot, several complaints by area residents brought the situation before the rezoning commission and council. According to the Youngs, they told the council that they followed the proper steps in seeking approval for the mobile home to be on the lot. In dealing with permit requests, the Youngs told the council that they consulted with the building inspector Pete McKinney and received approval to place the building on the lot. Elizabeth Solis, a resident in the area surrounding the lot in question, addressed the council on behalf of a group of property owners in that area. She asked the council to uphold the current zoning regulations and not allow the mobile home on the lot. After both sides pleaded their case to the council, it was discussed and decided that apparent miscommunication between city officials and the Youngs had occurred. So in the first action item of the evening, the council denied the Youngs’ request because of the precedent it would set. Two more public hearings followed the first both having to do with rezoning. Each of the subsequent requests were passed. The first will allow six acres near Sunset Ridge Church of Christ to be rezoned to allow an apartment complex to be built if and when the project is approved. The second allowed the business at 104 E. 5th to be rezoned to a commercial lot. The council acted on and approved the recommendation of the city manager Merle Taylor to enter into a lease agreement with Club Car Corp. for the lease of new golf carts. According to Taylor, the 36-month lease for $1,050 was the only viable option based upon the bids he received. After clarification to the council that this was in the current budget, the council approved the action item unanimously. The discussion and action on awarding a bid for the repair or replacement of the radio tower near the G. Rollie White Complex was tabled. Taylor told the council that the two bids that had been received were substantially higher than what the city had expected and that further discussions and options needed to be explored before acting on any decisions. The tower which is currently owned by the sheriff’s office, is used by both the city and county as well as by KNEL radio. The tower is 23 years old and repair technicians in that field have deemed it unsafe and refuse to work on it. Replacement of the tower is apparently the only option and the bid prices were in excess of $80,000. A resolution for the upcoming election for two places on the council was approved. Sara Howard and Cynthia Reeves were named as the election judges. A necessary action item that authorized a grant agreement for non-primary entitlement funds to Curtis Field Airport was approved. This was a step that was a mere formality in allowing the progression of a project that will build a new hangar at the airport. The funds in the amount of $14,700 were matching funds for a TxDOT grant. That money was paid to the state by the Economic Development Corporation. The first reading of an ordinance that would move the time of city council meetings to 9 a.m. on the first and third Tuesday’s of each month was passed. Comments from the public requested that the council consider alternate times on alternate days. Mayor Clarence Friar stated that the City Charter mandates that the meetings be held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. There was also some concern voiced that moving the meetings to a time other than after regular business hours would prohibit many residents from attending the meetings due to job-related commitments. According to the city manager, there has been a significant number of requests by older members of the community as well as by city employees and some council members to move the meeting time to the daytime hours. The ordinance was passed with the understanding that concerned citizens could and should speak to their council members to voice their opinion prior to the next council meeting. The council also approved the third reading of an ordinance that will amend the city budget to allow the hiring of a third full-time firefighter. City finance officer Lisa Remini addressed the council with the most current numbers of the bank accounts. She also informed them of details of a meeting she and other officials had with a software company Emnco. The company is marketing software that would be used by the city to replace the current Cameo software. According to Remini, the Cameo system is an old DOS system that they still have not been able to have perform to the full specifications of the software. In addition, support by Cameo personnel over the past year has been difficult to obtain. “The software Emnco is proposing is an all Windows-based system,” said Remini. “This company also is much larger than Cameo and they deal strictly with cities and municipalities close to the size of Brady.” The council explained that this was a preliminary meeting and no decisions were being made. Councilman Donald Barley suggested that the city pursue further discussions and consider addressing the issue in the next budget year. Mayor Clarence Friar closed the council comments portion of the meeting by informing the council and audience that the engineering firm of Jacobs and Martin had recently been asked to perform a survey of Brady to recommend what could and should be done to repair the streets throughout the city. Friar stated that the firm had been in town last week and is working on providing a recommendation to the council that could be available as soon as the end of this week. “We are committed to doing something about the streets and that is what we are going to do,” said Friar.

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